Learning Notes for Business Writing, a Coursera Course

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I want to share with you what I have learned from Business Writing. This course is provided by Coursera, created by University of Colorado Boulder and instructed by Dr. Quentin McAndrew. I love the course.

Why I chose Business Writing? I wrote my first blog article a week ago. It is very poorly written. Long, redundant and not organized. I am also looking for career change in marketing analysis. Hiring managers are asking for writing samples sometimes. I have hard time writing Cover Letters as well. So I need to improve my writing skills!

Here are what I have learned so far.

  1. English as a second language. Don’t be afraid! Quentin shares her personal story on this topic in one of the reading task. I was always feeling not comfortable talking and writing in English, only because it is not my mother tongue. I was afraid of making mistakes, so I kept my mouth shut and dreamed about becoming a writer someday. Actually, people do not care. Accent, not perfect pronunciation, mistakes. Nobody cares as long as you can deliver your ideas fluently. So keep trying and improving!
  2. The process of writing. Staring at a blank paper is terrifying. Many times I run away from a blank paper and didn’t even start trying. Business Writing teaches me very practical way to write. a) Start from purpose statement or anything you would like to have on the writing. Leave it there, and we can edit later. b) Then work on an outline. c) Craft each paragraph and take a lot of time revising to save your readers time.
  3. Self-editing. There are many good tips for self-editing or revising: make the paragraph short, every sentence should support topic sentence, grammar, white space and design. Writing is not like producing a perfect article from the first word, it is a process of focusing, thinking and revising. Sometimes good ideas come along the way.
  4. Practicing Basic skills. Basic skills seem easy. Quentin gives a good example of martial artists. Why world class martial artists win? They master basic techniques better than anybody in the world. Thus to have world class writing skills, I need to practice basic writing skills again and again.

After two weeks of learning, I already have so many take-home messages. Now I am a more confident writer. Practice makes perfect. There is still a lot of work to do. Again, here is the link for the course: Business Writing. It is a good course. Happy learning!